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By New_Deal_democrat June 10, 2015 9:24 am
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April 2015 JOLTS report: another sign of a maturing expansion?
The JOLTS report is a more detailed look at the labor market than either payrolls or jobless claims, breaking the overall payrolls number, with a one month delay, into job openings, actual hires, voluntary quits, and layoffs and other discharges. The drawback of this series is that it only started in 2000, so the number of prior business cycles we can compare = 1. So we have to take its message with lots of grains of salt.
 
Yesterday Bill McBride a/k/a Calculated Risk (and the Nicest Guy on the Internet) said April was "another solid report." 
 My takeaway is directly the opposite of his. 
 
Let's start with Bill's graph. The yellow line is job openings, the blue line actual hires. The light blue bars are quits, the light red bars are discharges:
 
 
Focus on the last 9 months: discharges are up, quits are at a 7 month low, and hires are rising much more slowly than openings (employers resisting higher wages maybe?).  

Now look back at the last cycle.  Openings was the last of the 4 series to roll over.  In late 2005 and 2006, hiring peaked, quits stalled, and so did discharges (so we are doing worse now!), even as openings continued to improve.

To reiterate, unfortunately we only have that one prior cycle to compare with, so confidence has to be low.  But doing so, the pattern suggests the first signs of an approaching employment peak -- yet another sign of what I called "a maturing expansion" several weeks ago.

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